More than five years ago, the owners of The Fat Greek decided to introduce the islands to their take on fresh and healthy Mediterranean cuisine. With three locations, the BYOB eatery's menu spans the Mediterranean with authentic dishes such as spanakopita, falafel, gyros, and souvlaki. Each dish, from shawarma to hummus, is prepared fresh on-site daily using ingredients delivered directly by Zeus disguised as a refrigerated truck. Rather than rely on heavy sauces, the dishes follow the Greek tradition with simple seasonings of olive oil, lemon, and spices.
At the boutique wine shop Waikiki Wine Closet, owned and operated by a father and son who hail from the vineyard-speckled land of California, varietals from around the world line the shelves. Coolers are filled with large bottles of craft beers such as Chimay and Duvel, as well as six-packs from the likes of Lagunitas and Hoegaarden. Waikiki Wine Shop also stocks fine spirits, including whiskey and the ghost of Humphrey Bogart.
Meandering through rows of coffee trees in a Waialua coffee orchard, roastmaster John Alvarez gauges by sight alone the maturity of the trees and the ripeness of the berries peeking out from verdant leaves. Though the coffee aficionado follows his beans’ route from germination into each piping mug, his true passion lies in roasting. Back at his roasting site in the shadow of Mount Ka'ala, handfuls of beans cascade through his fingers, pouring back into the drum roaster’s cooling bin as he inspects their chafes and hues to ensure an even roast. Though he concedes each island’s orchards produce different flavors, it’s the slow-roasting process—featured on Hawaiian Grown—that accounts for his coffee’s smooth, sweet taste. “It’s like being a chef at a restaurant,” he says of his duties. “A lot of people take it for granted, but it’s what makes all the difference.” Just outside, amid the Ilikai Hotel's fountains and gardens where his coffee shop is located, people sit on the patio, take in the sun, chat, and sip on the signature coffee.
The Hawaii Perks card supports Hawaii two ways?by promoting its businesses and by giving back to the local community through partnerships with some of Hawaii's largest non-profit organizations, including Hawaii Foodbank, YWCA of Honolulu, and the Komen Foundation. Cardholders get discounts and perks at both local businesses and national chains, from the Gap and Sam's Club to legendary hole-in-the-wall Ethel's Grill. Hawaii Perks donates at least 25% of revenues from the sale of each card to a non-profit organization, including Hawaii Food Bank and Hawaiian Humane Society.
Ilikai Bar & Grill's executive chef, Mitchell Uyeno, has assembled a menu of upscale American favorites imbued with Asian and Hawaiian tastes. Grab a hold of the fluctuating flavors in steamed Asian mahimahi ($16), caught fresh from Ilikai’s freshwater backyard pond, or Cajun jerk chicken ($14), which is served with mango papaya salsa. An 8 or 12 oz. USDA choice cut filet mignon ($33-$39) top out the grill menu, which also includes a rack of lamb ($43) and a game hen with guava glaze and fruit salsa ($26). Colossal prawns with a rich cream sauce on a bed of linguini ($28) continually defeat catch of the day fish in the battle for seafood menu dominance. On Fridays, stop by for the Hula show and fireworks, starting at 5:30 p.m.